It's a funny thing, but when you see a bowl of soup, no matter where it is from, lensed with red oil, you know you are in for comfort. Coconutty laksa, or a thick Spanish broth of greens and chorizo, the red oil floating to the surface is a sign of something good to come.
This simple little soup of mainly store-cupboard staples tastes rich and hearty but is pretty low-calorie, if you are interested in that sort of thing. A massive, meal-sized bowl comes in at about 280 calories.
'Nduja soup (serves 2 as a meal)
100g soup mix (that combination of lentils, barley and beans)
300g soffrito (or a small onion, a carrot and a stick of celery, finely diced)
1 litre vegetable stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of chopped parsley
Soak the soup mix in water over night.
About an hour before you want to eat, soften the 'nduja in a large saucepan. When the oil flows, add the soffrito and cook gently until it softens a bit. Add the drained soup mix and the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for about half an hour. Then add the tomatoes and simmer for another half hour, covered, stirring from time to time.
Fish around in the soup with a spoon until you find a haricot bean - these take the longest to cook, so if they are tender you are in business. Add a squeeze of lemon, some chopped parsley and correct the seasoning.